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A beach trip can take a lot of preparation. If you’re already hauling a beach cooler and some beach chairs, you want an easy to use umbrella. You don’t want a big, hard to move and heavy thing causing trouble. Or, even worse, flying away in the breeze. Let’s take a look at the best beach umbrellas on the market today.
Best Overall Choice
1. Tommy Bahama Beach Umbrella
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You can’t go wrong with Tommy Bahama. The name is synonymous with top quality beach gear. Their 7 foot beach umbrella is no different. The pole is lightweight but sturdy aluminum. The ribs in the canopy are fiberglass for strength and durability. The base is a corkscrew-style heavy duty sand anchor. You can dig this into the sand and be confident it’s going to stay put.
The canopy itself does offer sun protection. But the company also offers you a thoughtful warning about reflected sun rays. Make sure you wear sunscreen with it because even under an umbrella, the sun can bounce off the sand or water.
When you get it out on the beach it does its job well. The anchor is great for making sure you have a sturdy umbrella. It’s strong enough to handle a reasonable gust of wind as well.
Tommy Bahama is also known for great customer service. If you do have a problem, you should be able to get it sorted out fairly easily.
Best Budget Choice
2. Sport Brella Premier Beach Umbrella
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Sport Brella knows how to make an umbrella that the whole family can make use of. Their almost beach tent design offers great protection for many people at once. It’s like a mini cabana. The umbrella is designed on a tilt on purpose, and features closed in sides. Instead of worrying about it being balanced above you, it lies back. In that way it offers protection similar to how a beach umbrella tent works. Other beach umbrellas don’t offer nearly thus much coverage. Just set your beach chair under the umbrella canopy and enjoy.
The canopy is a generous 9 feet to offer maximum protection. Of course, it also has UV protection as well. It features a screw in anchor and also tie down stakes to secure the sides. Not only is it able to protect from sun or rain, it offers privacy as well. If you’d prefer not to have everyone at the beach staring at you, this is a great choice.
The fabric is resistant to fading and moisture. It offers UPF 50 protection as well. Because of the size, that means you and a few friends can enjoy the benefits. The frame is powder coated steel. It’s strong and reliable.
On windy days, the umbrella actually has zippered windows. You can allow the wind to pass right through instead of having it blow away. The auger bit is strong and comes with a sturdy handle. You can get this umbrella to dig into sand and soil with ease. There are also internal pockets to store some gear while you relax.
The biggest downside is that the unusual design takes more work. You’ll spend a few more minutes setting this umbrella up compared to a traditional one. That said, when we say a few minutes we mean it. It’s not a huge time investment and the end result is worth it.
Make sure you use the tie downs and open those windows in a breeze. Otherwise this thing becomes a parachute and will go flying. But if you use it right, it’s a great beach umbrella for the price.
Best Premium Choice
3. Beach Brella Sand Anchor Beach Umbrella
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With a vintage look and old school charm, the Beach Brella umbrella is a solid choice. If you like form and function together, you’ll want to give this one a look. It does cost a premium price but you’re definitely going to stand out on the beach. The umbrellas are hand made to ensure quality construction.
Unlike most umbrellas that use the screw anchor design, this one has a bag. That offers some versatility of use. If the beach is rocky this is a great alternative. Also, if you want to take this to sporting events or a concert, too. No need to dig it in super deep. Instead, fill the anchor bag for that added stability.
The umbrella comes in nearly a dozen designs to meet any tastes. The fabric material is fade resistant. It’s also water resistant. That said, don’t put it away wet. It may be able to stand up to water but this will probably grow mildew if you store it wet.
The canopy offers you 100% UV protection. The sun’s harmful rays won’t be able to get you under the ample coverage offered. And despite its size, it’s also very easy to transport. At under 5lbs, when you fold it up it can be stowed easily in the denim carrying bag. With a canvas shoulder strap, it makes it easy to carry your other gear as well. Plus the bag has pockets for things like your keys or cell phone when the umbrella is set up.
4. Blissun Portable Beach Umbrella
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With an oversized auger and an easy to tilt pole, Blissun’s umbrella is a great choice. The top wind vents increase stability by letting breezes pass through harmlessly. The fiberglass ribs are durable and can handle some wear and tear. It’s also available in a variety of designs to suit your tastes.
When it comes to travelling, the carry bag is sturdy and it’s easy to fit the umbrella back into it. The tilting feature on the pole is very easy to use. That means you can make simple adjustments as the sun moves overhead.
The upper part of the pole itself is aluminum. It’s corrosion resistant and tough, but also lightweight. The part you screw into the ground is actually steel. They merged both materials to make sure you have a good balance of strength and weight. It’s a great design choice and offers some more durability overall.
The canopy features a silver coating to increase UV protection. Its rated at UPF 50+ so nearly all the sun’s harmful rays are being blocked. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen to block the rays reflected off the sand and water, though.
One thing to be on the lookout for is how the poles connect. The steel base needs to be secured to the aluminum top pole. If you don’t get it tightly secure, a wind can pull the top part right out of the base. If it feels loose, make sure you adjust it.
5. Dekero Windproof Beach Umbrella
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If wind is your enemy on the beach, Dekero is here to help. Some beaches just seem to be windier than others so a windproof umbrella is a must have. Dekero’s large air vent design ensures that wind can pass through easily. At the same time it still offers great sun protection. Speaking of, you have a dual layer cloth here. They’re both silver coated as well to provide UPF 50+ protection. This is about as good as it gets.
The pole has a 360 degree tilt to ensure the sun never creeps in if you don’t want it to. It’s height adjustable to give you all the comfort you want on the beach. The aluminum telescoping pole ranges from 28 inches all the way to 48.8 inches. At full height this towers up at 7 feet 2 inches above the ground. Temperatures in the shade on even the hottest days will be a few degrees cooler.
The anchor has three points making it look like a pitch fork. Plant it and give it a twist to secure it in place. But remember, this is a winbd-proof umbrella, so they went the extra mile. There are tie down stakes and wires for added support. It’ll take a serious blast of wind to make this thing move once you have it set up.
With the biggest wind vents you’re likely to find on any umbrella, this is a great choice.
6. Ammsun Beach Umbrella
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Lightweight and reliability is what Ammsun brings to the table with their umbrella. A steel pole and polyester canopy are durable materials that are also easy to transport. It weighs less than five pounds which means you’ll barely notice it in your gear.
The wind vent on top allows the breeze to pass though. This provides a good deal of stability that a solid umbrella can’t offer. The polyester material provides UPF 50+ to keep harmful UV rays away. The telescoping pole is height adjustable. It separates into two pieces for travel and storage.
One thing to be aware of with this one is the size. At 6.5 feet in diameter, this is not a huge umbrella. If you’re going with the whole family, you may want to bring two or opt for something larger. This is definitely best for 1 or 2 people at most. Finally, the sand anchor issue is a bit of a let down. The umbrella doesn’t come with a sand anchor, you have to buy it separately.
That said, it’s an affordable option and it looks great. When you do have it anchored, the vents are good at what they do. In normal wind, it should stay up and not cause any problems. Plus it’s tilt adjustable which is convenient as well. Overall, Ammsun put together a solid and reliable beach umbrella.
7. Rio Beach 6 Foot Beach Umbrella
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With a powder coated alloy steel frame, this Rio beach umbrella is tough and reliable. That includes the pole and the ribs of the canopy. The canopy itself is durable and fade resistant. There’s a top wind vent to prevent it from flying away in a gust of wind. It also operates on a tilt, so you can keep the sun out of your eyes at any angle.
The material offers UPF 50+ protection. Combined with a good sunscreen, that means you shouldn’t be burned on your next beach trip. The material will also resist fading even with extended sun exposure. It also seems to handle moisture well, too. But, as with any umbrella, we recommended not putting it away wet just to be safe.
The pole is telescoping so you can get that perfect height. You should keep an eye on the connecting parts however. Where the pole is adjusted and also the sand anchor you’ll find plastic parts that do seem a little flimsy. It’s possible in a really harsh wind that these could become serious stress points. They can weaken the overall design of the umbrella. That said, Rio is known for making quality products so expect that the frame and canopy will get the job done.
8. Wondershade Portable Umbrella
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Hate dealing with those drill bit anchors? Wondershade has your back. With a tripod base design, you don’t have to bury anything in the sand to enjoy the shade. The canopy gives you a 50 UPF protection from the sun. But at the same time, the portable base means you’re never stuck in one place. This design can travel easily up and down the beach, or to any outdoor event. It can even be a patio umbrella. And, if you really prefer the auger anchor, it switches over in just seconds.
Even better than the base is all the extras Wondershade included. If you’re planning a whole day at the beach, you want this with you. There are attached cup holders to keep your beverage out of the sand. It has towel hooks for your beach blankets or bags to keep them high and dry as well. There are accessory collars to add even more stuff if you want.
The frame is alloy steel so it’s tough and durable. It can stand up to all the stuff hanging off of it, and a stiff wind. With the base giving it stability, it takes quite a bit to knock this over. The telescoping pole also extends from 3 feet all the way up to 8 feet. And there’s also a tilt mechanism to keep the sun out of your face at any angle.
Set up is quick and easy and only takes a minute or two. There’s a carry bag to help transport it when it’s not set up.
Choosing the Best Beach Umbrellas
Any good beach umbrella needs to be able to protect you from the sun. That means it needs to be well constructed and reliable. Let’s take a look at what features make the best beach umbrellas on the market.
It’s kind of surprising just how much variation can exist in something as simple as an umbrella. The canopy needs to stand up to a lot of wear and tear. It needs to be able to withstand harsh UV rays. That doesn’t mean just protecting you, either. We’ve all seen sun bleached yard furniture and such in the past. A good quality beach umbrella won’t fade even after frequent sun exposure.
Likewise, it needs to stand up to moisture. You want one that can keep the rain off if the weather turns. And also one that won’t grow mildew right away if it gets damp. Too many cheap umbrellas will be a mess after a winter in storage because of this.
Something like marine grade acrylic fabric can provide maximum sun protection. At the same time, it’s designed to deal with moisture better than other materials.
You’ll also want to look for wind vents. Air vents are key if you don’t want your umbrella to fly away in a sudden gust. These allow air to pass through freely. If it can withstand strong winds, it will make your beach day a lot less stressful. No one wants to be chasing an umbrella down the beach.
Your beach umbrella’s stability depends on the frame. Something like a powder coated steel pole is a good support base. It resists corrosion and provides strength and durability. An aluminum pole can also stand up to corrosion but is more lightweight. Both can be part of a good umbrella, as long as its well constructed.
Sand anchors should be strong and easy to use.
A tilt feature is also a nice thing to have in the frame. That way you can adjust the umbrella to follow the sun’s position. A telescoping pole is also potentially helpful. It allows you to adjust up and down for the best overall sun protection.
When it comes to the canopy itself, you’ll probably want fiberglass ribs. They are tough and durable and can last a long time. Aluminum is also an option but these may be more likely to bend.
When you buy sunscreen you look for its SPF rating. For an umbrella, or any kind of fabric, you look for UPF. That stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor. It refers to how much UV radiation passes through the fabric to your skin.
The material and coverage of your umbrella serve an important purpose. It’s not so much that you’re just getting shade at the beach. You are using the umbrella to protect you from UVA and UVB rays. A high UPF rating offers the sun protection you’ll need to avoid getting a burn. Remember, those UVA rays and UVB rays are what can cause cancer over the long term. Combined with a good quality sunscreen, a beach umbrella is a great tool for keeping you safe.
If something says it’s UPF 50, it means 98% of rays are blocked. How does that make sense? Because it allows 2% to pass through and 2% is 1/50th. It’s a little confusing but that’s how they get their numbers. Just like with sunscreen, the higher the number, the better.
One thing you need to remember about umbrella sun protection is that it only works in one direction. What we mean by that is that it stands between you and the sun above. But the sun is still hitting the ground all around you. Depending on the type of sand you’re on, much of that sun can be reflected back. It will also bounce off the water. That means you could still be exposed to some serious UV rays even under the umbrella. For that reason, always make sure you combine the umbrella with sunscreen. That way you’ll be able to enjoy the beach while staying protected.
A good umbrella has to be easy to use. If it’s too heavy it will be hard to maneuver and adjust. If it’s too light it might just fly away in heavy winds. If it’s too small then maybe only one person can fit under it. If you want something to protect the whole family, these are things you need to keep in mind.
The tilt feature is handy but you want one that movies easily. Many designs tilt with a simple button push, and that’s what you want. Likewise, if it telescopes it should be an easy feature. You don’t want to have to wrestle with forcing buttons in and yanking on the frame. Cheaper umbrellas didn’t really take things like this into consideration. That means set up can often be quite an ordeal. If you get a chance, try to set up and use the features before you buy. If not, trust in the reviews of the experiences of others. Sometimes risking it on an umbrella no one has ever heard of before just isn’t worth it.
Technically all you need to have a beach umbrella is canvas strapped over a frame on a pole. But is that all you want? A good beach umbrella is going to include some extra features. These aren’t needed but often they can be nice to have.
Anchor: Look for things like a good quality sand anchor. If the umbrella can stay rooted in the sand, it’s not much good. A built in sand anchor makes set up so much easier.
Carry Bag: A carrying bag is always handy to have. Remember, you’re probably taking a few things down to the beach, right? A good carry bag can make moving what could be an ungainly umbrella much easier. Plus carrying bags can sometimes have room for more gear. Using a shoulder strap to toss it over your shoulder can be a real lifesaver.
Towel Hook: Sometimes the main pole of a beach umbrella has a handy hook for your beach towel or a small bag. It keeps things dry and out of the sand, which is a nice touch.
The Bottom Line
A beach umbrella should be easy to use but effective. You only want to spend a few minutes setting it up and taking it down. If it bends, if it blows away, if it doesn’t adjust, it’s not that useful. Make sure you find one that fits all your needs. As always, be safe and have fun.